Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (1) ► Lord Śrī Mahāvīra (III)

Posted: 25.04.2016

The 14th Year as Kevalī

From Campā the Lord left for Videha. At Kākandī city, the householder 'Khemaka' and 'Dhṛtidhara' took initiation and observing restraint and austerities for 16 years, in the end both became enlightened at the Vipula hill. Wandering, the Lord reached Mithilā and stayed there for the rainy season. Completing that, passing through Aṃgadeśa, the Lord reached Campā city and addressed the samavaśaraṇa at Pūrṇabhadra caitya. At that time, there was a war going on in Vaiśālī. Queens of the royal family and ordinary people came to offer worship. At the end of his sermon, the 10 queens, including Kālī, Sukālī, etc, asked the Lord about the wellbeing of their sons gone to war. Hearing about the death of their sons from the Lord, Kālī and other queens developed detachment, taking permission of Kauṇika, they accepted initiation. All the queens studied the 11 Aṃgas under the Āryikā Candanā and observed many austerities and in the end, observing a fast, meditating, ended all pain and attained nirvāṇa.

15th Year as Kevalī

Through Vaiśālī, the Lord moved to Śrāvastī. There, Halla and Vihalla, Kauṇika's brothers, accepted initiation into monkhood and practiced severe penance for self-purification. Reaching Śrāvastī, the Lord stayed at Koṣṭhaka caitya. Maṃkhaliputra Gośālaka too, was in Śrāvastī at that time. He was propagating the 'Ājīvaka' sect and he called himself a Tīrthaṃkara. The word had speed in Śrāvastī that two Tīrthaṃkara were present there. Gautama wanted to know the truth from the Lord. The Lord gave a complete account of Gośālaka and said Gośālaka was not a 'Jina' but a pseudo Jina. When Gośālaka heard this, he was very angry. He was speaking angrily with his fellow Ājīvakas when the Lord's disciple Ānaṃda was passing by. When Gośālaka saw him, he called him and said –"Ānaṃda, my spiritual teacher Śramaṇa Mahāvīra has attained an excellent status and he is honoured by gods and men, but if he says anything about me it will not be good; I shall turn him into ashes with my power."

On hearing this, innocent Ānaṃda became sad and got worried. He told everything to the Lord and asked him – "Lord, does Gośālaka have so much power that he can turn a Tīrthaṃkara into ashes?" The Lord said – "Gośālaka certainly has that much power that he can reduce an ordinary to ashes but he cannot burn an Arihanta; but yes, he can produce difficulties and pain. Hence, please alert Gautama and other detached persons (nirgranthas). Gośālaka can come here any moment. He is angry due to hatred; hence do not respond to anything he says. There is no need to indulge in religious debate with him or to give him religious inspiration."

The Lord was just saying this to the monks when Gośālaka reached the garden with his disciples and said –"Kāśyapa, you say Maṃkhaliputra Gośālaka is your disciple. That is true, but that disciple of yours died and has become a god. I am from the Kauḍinyāyana gotra. I have Gośālaka's body because it is capable of bearing with ordeals. This is my seventh entry into a body." Hearing Gośālaka's words, the Lord said –"Gośālaka, since you are caught, you are weaving a web of words. However, this is not right. You are Gośālaka and no one else but him. There is no need to make these false utterances." Gośālaka was very angry hearing the Lord's clear speech and started blabbering nonsense. He also abused the Lord.

The words of Gośālaka did not affect the Lord. Other monks too remained silence as per the Lord's orders, but the heretic 'Sarvānubhūti' could not contain him. He told Gośālaka –"Gośālaka, it is not right for a mendicant like you to behave so inappropriately in spite of having been initiated by the Lord. Do not take refuge in unwise action in anger." Gośālaka was furious to hear Sarvānubhūti's words. He hurled a hot flash in anger, which reduced Sarvānubhūti to ashes. Like Sarvānubhūti, the monk 'Sunakṣatra' too could not tolerate this. He, too, tried to explain to Gośālaka. In turn, Gośālaka hurled another hot flash. While its impact was not as powerful, but with fearsome pain, he came and prayed to the Lord, and with repentance again accepting the major vows, seeking forgiveness from all, ended his life in meditation.

In the end Mahāvīra himself tried to advise Gośālaka bit, but it had an opposite effect on Gośālaka and he hurled another hot flash at Mahāvīra. It did not burn Mahāvīra's body but circumambulator him and leapt back at Gośālaka and burning him, went into his body. Gośālaka started to feel pain in his body, yet he said to the Lord –"Kāśyapa! Today you were saved, but with the impact of my hot flash, within six months of your mendicancy period, you will die." The Lord said –"I shall wander as a Tīrthaṃkara for 16 years now[1] but you, pained by your own hot flash, will be rid of your body within seven nights."

By using the hot flash repeatedly, Gośālaka became lack-lustre and the energy of his penance became deadly for him. By using the hot flash against the Lord, he had rendered himself corrupt and power-less. With the Lord's permission, the nirgransthas made him speechless with their questions. He was disappointed with his defeat. To cool down the hot flashes he began to drink water and pour water over his head.

Gośālaka told his elder monks of Ājīvaka cult that after his death his body should be bathed in scented water, decked in valuable ornaments and taken in procession with honour and let it be announced that Gośālaka was the 24thTīrthaṃkara jina and he became enlightened, emancipated and liberated. Suddenly on the 7th night, his eyes became clear and pure. His illusion had disappeared. In his mind he came to repent that despite being a non-jina, he was claiming to be a jina. It was wrong on his part to attack the Śramaṇa monks and hate his spiritual teacher. Lord Mahāvīra is the true jina and Tīrthaṃkara. He at once once called all the monks and said –"Whatever I said about myself are all false. I am not a jina. Hence when I die, as a mark of repentance, spit on me thrice and tying my feet with a rope, drag my body through the streets of Śrāvastī, declaring that Gośālaka was not a jina, Mahāvīra is the jina." He made them take an oath to this effect and died on the seventh night. When he died, the monks thought to do as told would demean them. Hence, to protect themselves from the fault of having disrespected the instructions, together they counselled with each other and at Gośālaka's residence they instructed the potter, Halahal, to recreate the scene of Śrāvastī there, and after taking the body around thrice, they took out a procession and respectfully completed Gośālaka's last rites.

The Lord's Cure

Reaching Meḍhiyāgrāma the Lord sat on a stone on the ground in the 'Sāla Koṣṭhaka caitya' outside the village. At that time, the Lord experienced extreme pain in his body due to Gośālaka's hot flash attack. He also developed blood dysentery. The Lord bore them peacefully. At that time, a noble-looking disciple of the Lord, Sīhāmuni, was in Māluyākaccha. Observing a fast, he was meditating when he sensed in his mind that his spiritual teacher has developed a big illness and if he dies in this state, people will think he died during monkhood. With this thought, Sīhā started crying and wailing. When the Lord sensed this state of Sīhā, he called and said –"There is no need to be sad over imagining that something sad is to happen to me. I do have pain from Gośālaka's attack, but I am not going to die. I shall wander as a jina for fifteen-anda-half years now. Go to the śrāvaka 'Revatī's house in Meḍhiyāgrāma; do not bring the food kept for me, but bring stale citron fruit, which is aprorpriate to cure the disease."

Sīhā was very happy to hear this and immediately went to Revatī's house in Meḍhiyāgrāma. Consuming the citron fruit brought from Revatī's house, the Lord's pain subsided and within a few days he became as brilliant as before. There was a wave of cheer in human and divine worlds with the Lord regaining health. Revatī too obtained to the life of a god and later earned the Tīrthaṃkara nāmakarma because of this charity with pure feeling.

Demise of Sarvānubhūti, etc

One day, Gautama asked the Lord –"Lord, what will be the status of your congregational disciple Sarvānubhūti, who has been burnt to ashes by Gośālaka's hot flash?" The Lord replied –"Sarvānubhūti has been reborn as a heavenly being with life span of eighteen sāgara in the eighth heaven and exiting from there, he will be born in Mahā Videha where he will attain emancipation, enlightenment and liberation." Gautama then asked –"Where did Gośālaka go after death?" The Lord said that due to the pure thought at the end hour, he has been reborn in the 12th heaven as a god of 22-sāgara life span. From there, continuously wandering through hell and netherworld, facing sorrow, he will obtain right perception. In the end, observing restraint, he will attain omniscience (kevalajñāna) and destroying his karmas, shall put an end to all his sorrow."

Leaving Meḍhiyāgrāma the Lord reached Mithilā and completed rainy season halt there. In that very year, Jamāli monk had an argument with the Lord and the female-monk Sudarśanā, having being awakened by the potter ḍhaṃka, re-joined the Lord's congregation.

16th Year as Kevalī

Completing the rainy season halt in Mithilā, the Lord went to Hastināpura. At that time, Gautama, along with a few monks, arrived at the Koṣṭhaka garden in Śrāvastī. Outside the city, the monk of Pārśva's tradition, Keśīkumāra, was staying with his group of monks in the Tiṃduka garden. He had three kinds of knowledge – mati, śruti and avadhi. At that point, two groups of Śramaṇa monks were in Śrāvastī and there was some difference in the clothes and thoughts of the two. Hence, it was natural for people to have suspicions as to why there is difference between the two sects of the same religion. If one propounds Cāturyāma why does the other paṃcavratīs? One's practice is nudity, while the other's is with clothes. Why such difference in practice when the aim is common? Keśī and Gautama felt they should come together and have mutual discussions to remove doubts in the minds of Śramaṇas and śrāvakas. Keeping in mind the age and loftiness of Keśīkumāra, Gautama took his disciples to Tiṃduka forest. Keśīkumāra duly welcomed and honoured Gautama. Thousands of people, apart from disciples of the respective monks, had gathered to see and hear this extraordinary discussion of two respected monks. Keśīkumāra said to Gautama –"Oh fortunate one! We are fortunate that you have come here with your monks. I would like to clarify some of my doubts from you. My first doubt is that Lord Pārśvanātha spoke of Cāturyāma dharma, whereas Mahāvīra speaks of paṃcamahāvratas. What is the reason behind this?" Gautama said –"Religious concepts are presented in accordance with the nature of knowledge prevalent in people at that time. At the time of the first Tīrthaṃkara, people were simple and unawakened and in the time of the last Tīrthaṃkara Mahāvīra, people are skewed and unawakened / unconscious. It was difficult for people to understand in those days and today it is difficult for people to observe the vows. Hence, to clarify vows of both times, the paṃcamahāvratas are established. In the time of the middle Tīrthaṃkara people were straightforward and intelligent. Understanding the instructions easily, they used to observe them too as easily; hence the middle22Tīrthaṃkara taught the Cāturyāma dharma."

Keśīkumāra was satisfied with Gautama's response. He posed a second question –"Varddhamāna Mahāvīra speaks of acelaka (nude) conduct while Lord Pārśvanātha spoke of a single upper cloth, why is that?" Gautama replied that mode of dressing is important for people to know. Mode of dress is extraneous; it can change. In fact, in the practise to attain mokṣa, knowledge, perception and conduct are eternal, which never change. The exterior form, while being necessary, is secondary in importance; the primary and most important is the internal concept, which is the same for both Lord Pārśvanātha and Mahāvīra.

Śramaṇa Keśīkumāra was very happy with similar answers to his 12 other questions by Gautama and saluting Gautama, along with his disciples, he accepted Lord Mahāvīra' paṃcamahāvratas from him.

The philosophical conversation of Keśī and Gautama had a great impact on the people gathered there. This union of the knowledgeable was the topic of discussion for a long time in Śrāvastī and resulted in great change in people's attitude and behaviour.

Then Mahāvīra arrived in Hastināpura via Kurū republic and sat in Sahasrāmravana. King Śiva ruled over Hastināpura then. By nature, he was a contented, emotional and religious person. Once he woke up from sleep in the night and thought, "I am happy in every way. I am progressing in terms of wealth, food-stock, friends, treasure, etc. yet it is not nice to spend a lifetime over the deposits of enjoyment and wealth. I should do something for my future. It would be good if I crown prince Śivabhadra as king tomorrow at sunrise and become a mendicant. In the morning, he became initiated as an ascetic and decided that he would continuously observe fasts and would wander keeping both his hands raised upwards, facing the Sun.

This way, he became a princely sage (rājarṣi). On the day he broke his fast; he would duly construct a ritual platform, make a ritual fire and after sacrifice and prayers to guest, have his food. This way, doing penance facing the Sun for a long time, Sage Śiva obtained ruptured knowledge. He started seeing and knowing matters across the seven seas. He was happy with an accomplishment of his and started saying that he had attained pure knowledge from his peace that nothing exists beyond the seven seas and seven islands. When Indrabhūti heard this, he asked the Lord. The Lord said –"No, on the earth there are innumerable islands and seas." When people heard about the question and answer session of Gautama and Lord Mahāvīra, they started discussing about sage Śiva and Mahāvīra's statements. There were doubts in sage Śiva's mind and in this state of indecisiveness; he lost his ruptured knowledge. He thought – "Perhaps, something was lacking in my knowledge. Mahāvīra must be right." Leaving the hermitage, he reached Sahasrāmravana, and paying obescience to Mahāvīra, sat at an appropriate place. When the Lord completed his sermon he pleaded –"Lord, please give me initiation into your nirgrantha order." With the Lord's acceptance, he renounced the sage's attire and practices and taking five fistfuls of hair, took the five mahāvratas. He observed several austerities after becoming a nirgrantha, studied the 11 Aṃgas and in the end, destroying all karmas, attained nirvāṇa.

After sometime, the Lord reached Vāṇjyagrāma touching Mokā city from Hastināpura and stayed for the rainy season there. In this time, among the ones who became mendicants, Poṭṭila's name is worthy of mention.

17th Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season, the Lord moved from Videha to Magadha and reaching Rājagṛha, had a samavaśaraṇa at Guṇaśīla caitya. In that year, many monks observed fasts unto death at Vipula hill in Rājagṛha, fulfilling their spiritual duties. The Lord spent that rainy season in Rājagṛha.

18th Year as Kevalī

Completing the cāturmāsa Rājagṛha, the Lord left for Campā and became seated in Pṛṣṭhacampā on its western part. Hearing news of the Lord's arrival, the king of Campā, Śāla, and his brother, prince Mahāśāla, came to listen to the Lord's sermon and took initiation. From Pṛṣṭhacampā, the Lord reached the Pūrṇabhadra caitya in Campā. Kāmadeva, follower of Śramaṇas, was also present at the samavaśaraṇa. After his sermon, the Lord told the nirgrantha monks that despite being in the householder's life, Kāmadeva has borne all calamities with equanimity. All monks should take inspiration from him. The monks-female-monks accepted this with respect.

Leaving Campā, the Lord reached Daśārṇapura. The king there was great devotee of the Lord. He went to offer his respects with his four-fold army with great pomp and show. On the way, he felt pride wondering about others being present there with as much prosperity as him. At that time he saw the king of gods, Indra, alighting from the sky and seeing his prosperity, his pride was shattered. However, to protect his honour, he immediately took initiation and became part of the mendicants' order. Indra, who had come there with his riches to shatter his pride, felt ashamed seeing this courage of Daśārṇabhadra, and venerating him, returned to his place.

Leaving Daśārṇapura, the Lord arrived at Vāṇijyagrāma, after passing through Videha. Somila Brahmin, a Vaidika scholar reached with his students to see the Lord and while standing, inquired him about different types of journey (vihāra) like yāpanīya, avyābādha and prāsuka. When he could not succeed in making the Lord answer-less to these questions, he asked some strange questions relating to the edible and inedible. After getting answers to even those questions, in order to test further Mahāvīra's knowledge of facts, he asked some theoretical questions. Getting appropriate responses from the Lord, Somila was very impressed and he faithfully accepted the householder's vows from the Lord and ending his life in meditation went to heaven. The Lord completed his cāturmāsa Vāṇijyagrāma.

19th Year as Kevalī

After completing the rainy season, wandering through Sāketa, Sāvatthī, etc in Kauśala country, the Lord arrived at Pāṃcāla and stayed at Sahasrāmravana of Kampilapura. A Brahmin named Ambaḍa used to stay there. He was a renouncer and had 700 disciples with him. When he saw Mahāvīra's life of penance, and heard his sermons inspiring disenchantment, he became a follower of Jainism along with his disciples and in the mode of a mendicant, practised the set of restraints ordained for a householder. One day, during his begging tour, Gautama heard that the ascetic Ambaḍa accepts food from 700 households at the same time. He shared his inquisitiveness with the Lord, who said –"Ambaḍa is a respectable and humble renouncer. He has attained vīryalabdhi, vaikriyalabdhi and avadhijṅāna because of long fasts and focused meditation. Hence, in 700 body forms he acquires simultaneously, is seen going to seven hundred homes at the same time. This Ambaḍa has knowledge of soul and non-soul; a follower of Śramaṇatradition, he will not accept mendicancy."

Talking about Ambaḍa's wandering practice the Lord said he sacrificed basic violence, untruth and does not take anything that has not been given and is a celibate and contented. While wandering, barring water that passes by on the way, he does not take water from river, well or pond by jumping into them. He does not ride on vehicles and walks on foot. He does not see arousing performances, nor does he indulge in gossip. He neither touches green vegetables, nor tears them. As for vessels, he only uses a gourd, wooden vessel or an earthen pot, not one made of any metal. He does not wear anything apart from an ochre robe; does not wear any ornaments apart from purifying copper. He does not use anything on the body except soil from Gaṃgā. He drinks only filtered water and that too, given by another. After spending many years in austerities ascetic Ambaḍa will ultimately give up food for a month and after death, will be born as a prosperous god in Brahmaloka heaven. Leaving Kampilapura the Lord arrived at Vaiśālī where he spent the rainy season.

20th Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season, wandering through many places the Lord again came to Vāṇijyagrāma. When he was giving a sermon at the Dūtipalāśa caitya, there a monk of the Pārśva tradition, Gāṃgeya came to attend. He asked many questions to the Lord after the sermon and happy with those answers, told him, "you are omniscient, all- knowing." He accepted the Lord's five mahāvratas and became part of his Śramaṇa order. From there the Lord arrived at Vaiśālī and completed cāturmāsathere.

21st Year as Kevalī

Completing the rainy season, the Lord left Vaiśālī for Magadha and reaching Rājagṛha, went to the Guṇaśīla garden. Many monks of other tīrthas used to stay near that garden. They used to have discussions among each other from time to time. Usually, in these debates, they used to praise their own thoughts and condemn the other's. Gautama heard them and placed his questions to the Lord. To one of those questions the Lord said that living being (jīva) and soul are one, not separate.

One day, outside the hermitage near the garden, some monks were discussing about paṃcāstikāyas, when a śrāvaka named Madduka passed by. Some tairthikas including Kālodāyī saw him and said Madduka has good knowledge about Mahāvīra's doctrine, why do not we seek his opinion. Thus, they called Madduka and asked him many questions relating to paṃcāstikāyas. The tairthikas were speechless listening to Madduka's concepts and arguments. When Madduka went to see the Lord, the Lord praised him. Gautama was highly impressed seeing Madduka's ability and remarkable qualities. After he left, he asked the Lord –"Lord! Will śrāvaka Madduka become a monk?" The Lord said – "No, he will remain a householder and complete his life with piety and become a god in the Aruṇābha vimāna. Again in a rebirth as a human being, he will take to the path of restraint and become enlightened, emancipated and liberated." The Lord completed that rainy season halt (cāturmāsa) at Rājagṛha.

22nd Year as Kevalī

Leaving Rājagṛha, wandering through many places the Lord again returned to Rājagṛha and stayed at Guṇaśīla caitya. Once when Indrabhūti was returning to Guṇaśīla caitya after taking alms he met two tairthikas Kālodāyī and Śailodāyī on the way. They said it would be good if you can explain to us the correct essence of the paṃcāstikāya, such as dharmāstikāya, etc, that your teacher, the spiritual preceptor, kṣatriya-son Mahāvīra propounds. Gautama said, in brief–"We do not talk of the nonexistents as the existents and the existents as the non-existents. With particular reflection you will understand the secret." Saying this, Gautama moved ahead, without resolving his problem. Therefore, he too followed Gautama to the Lord. The Lord explained to him about paṃcāstikāya and seeing an appropriate moment gave a sermon, inspired by which Kālodāyī took initiation into the nirgrantha order and became a monk and after studying the 11 Aṃgas in sequential order, he became an expert in the secret of discourse.

To the northeast of Rājagṛha was the city Nālandā. Once, the Lord was sitting in the garden Hastigrāma near a hall named Śeṣa-dravikā. There a monk of the Pārśva tradition, Peḍhālaputra Udaka met Indrabhūti.  To resolving a query by Udaka with regard to the vow of non-killing, Indrabhūti said that the one who gives up violence on mobile living beings (or a being with one or two senses) is giving up violence on that being in the present. It is not important; whether it was an immobile being (plants, etc) or a mobile being in the past. Violence on that is prohibited against the mobile living beings in the present existence. A renouner's objective is with the present state of being; what was in the past, or will be in the future, only the knowledgeable can know it. Hence, they who observe the vows taken but are unable to totally give up violence and accept the monk's conduct, have a good outcome. Thus, a follower of the Śramaṇa tradition, who has given up violence on mobile beings, does not break his vows by violence on immobile beings.

This way with other analyses with appropriate substantiation, Gautama cleared the doubts of Udaka Peḍhāla. He was leaving when Gautama said, "Udaka, you know that hearing religious speech from a non-violent (māhaṇa) monk, the person who has gained knowledge bestows respect on him." Udaka understood Gautama's hint and he not only expressed complete faith in Gautama, but also accepted the five mahāvratas at the feet Lord Mahāvīra and became part of his monk order. The Lord spent that year's cāturmāsa Nālandā.

23rd Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season, moving from Nālandā the Lord reached Vāṇijyagrāma in Videha, which was famous in those days for trade. A prominent trader named Sudarśana lived there. The Lord was staying Dūtipalāśa caitya. There were scores of people waiting to see the Lord. Sudarśana came there. After people left, Sudarśana asked the Lord about 'time cycles'. Explaining to him about the palyopama time the Lord narrated to him his past life account. On hearing this, Sudarśana recollected his past life. At that very moment he accepted initiation. Then he studied, respectively, the 11 Aṃgas and 14 pūrvas and observed the Śramaṇa vows for 12 years, and destroying his karmas, in the end, attained nirvāṇa.

Once Gautama was returning from his alms-seeking stroll to the 'Dūtipalāśa' caitya when, on the way, he heard of the acceptance of a fast by the householder Ānaṃda. He thought Ānaṃda is Lord's devoted disciple, has started to observe a fast. Therefore, I must see him; and he went to Kollāga nearby. Ānaṃda was delighted to see Gautama. He saluted him and after sometime, said –"Lord! Can a householder attain avadhijṅāna remaining at home?" Gautama said –"yes." Ānaṃda said –"I too have attained avadhijṅāna; I know, and am seeing, forms and objects upto the Culla Himavaṃta mountain to the north, up to 500 – 500 yojanas of the Salt Ocean, above until Sauddharma realm of gods and below until the Lolaccua hell."

Gautama said –"A householder attains avadhijṅāna but to this extent; you should repent your false statement." To this, Ānaṃda said –"I am speaking the truth. Perhaps you should repent." Gautama had doubt in his mind and approached the Lord at once. The Lord said –"No, whatever Ānaṃda said was right; hence you must repent your false opinion." Hearing the Lord, without breaking his fast, Gautama went to Ānaṃda and accepting his folly, sought forgiveness. From there, wandering, the Lord reached Vaiśālī, and stayed there during the rains.

24th Year as Kevalī

After the cāturmāsa at Vaiśālī, the Lord moved to Sāketa in Kauśala land. A famous śrāvaka, Jinadeva, wandering, came to 'Koṭvarṣa' city. Kirātarāja belonged to the local Mleccha lineage lived there. Jinadeva, who had come for trade, gave him different kinds of gems. Seeing them Kirātarāja said – "Where are these produced?" Jinadeva said –"our country is a veritable mine of these gems." Kirātarāja said –"With the permission of your king, take me too to your country so I can see your country and its gems." Making all arrangements for the journey, Jinadeva brought Kirātarāja along with him to stay in his house. At that time, Lord Mahāvīra reached Sāketa. Seeing a crowd Kirātarāja enquired – "Where are people going in such large numbers?" Jinadeva said –"King, a great owner, and trader of gems has arrived; people are going to see him." Saying, "then even I must go", Kirātarāja accompanied Jinadeva to Mahāvīra's assembly. Seeing Mahāvīra's throne and umbrella above, Kirātarāja was amazed. He saluted the Lord and asked him about his gems. The Lord said –"There are two types of gems –material gem and psychic (bhāva) gem. Again, there are three types of bhāva gems – darśana (intuition), jṅāna (knowledge) and caritra (conduct). These three are such powerful gems that they not only increase the fame of the one that wears them but also improve his this-worldly and other-worldly state. Material (dravya) gems have a limited effect; they only bring joy in the present, but the bhāva gems give joy for several births and lead to the true destination." Hearing this, Kirātarāja was happy and said – "Lord, then give me the bhāva gems." The Lord got him a whiskbroom and mouth cloth (mukha vastrikā), which Kirātarāja accepted and became part of the Lord's monk order.

Leaving Sāketa the Lord went to Kampilapura in Pāṃcāla region. From there, wandering through Sūrasena, Mathurā, Naṃdīpura, etc, he came to Videha and spent the rainy season in Mithilā.

25th Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season, the Lord left for Magadha. Giving sermons on the nirgrantha tradition in various places, he arrived at Rājagṛha and sat in Guṇaśīla caitya. It was here that Gatiprapāta text was composed. One monk, Kālodāyī, asked the Lord that how does a person on his own do karmas that beget bad results. The Lord said, in the same way as immersed in the taste of impure food a person does not pay attention to its consequences, similarly, while doing something that gives momentary happiness and charm, a person forgets that its consequences will be bad later on. Naturally, Kālodāyī asked, "in this state, how does a person do good deeds?" The Lord said–"A person has medicine which is bitter with the thought that it will be beneficial to the body. In the beginning, the attitude to do good deeds develops from inducement. Then, seeing its result being happy, people naturally start doing it."

Kālodāyī's second question concerned violence that where one person makes a fire and the other douses it, which among these two commits greater violence and becomes a sinner. The Lord said –"The one who douses the fire does more violence on the fire; he destroys it. However, in dousing it, prevents and stops violence on the earth, water, air, the vegetable kingdom and mobile beings. Whereas the one producing the fire gives life to the fire, hence from fire it gets violence on other living beings. Thus, if we see carefully, the one who produces fire does greater violence than the one who douses it and as a result, obtains sin."

Happy with the Lord's answers Kālodāyī attained nirvāṇa in the end observing various kinds of penance and fast unto death. Gaṇadhara Prabhāsa too observed a one month fast in that year and attained nirvāṇa and the Lord completed his cāturmāsa there.

26th Year as Kevalī

At the completion of the rainy season, the Lord gave sermons at various places and returned to Rājagṛha's Guṇaśīla caitya. In this year, Acalabhrātā and Metārya gaṇadharas attained nirvāṇa with a one-month fast unto death (samādhi).

27th Year as Kevalī

Leaving Nālandā the Lord moved towards Videha and wandering, sat at Maṇibhadra caitya in Mithilā. King Jitaśatru came there. The Lord gave sermon to a large gathering. Indrabhūti and other monk disciples asked questions regarding the Sun's movement in the orbit, expanse of the rays of the Sun and shadow, the waxing and waning of the Moon, the reasons for planetary oppression, birth of a meteor, beginning of an era, etc. The Lord spent that year's cāturmāsa Mithilā.

28th Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season halt, he wandered across places in Videha and gave initiation to many devotees into the Śramaṇa tradition as well as inspired many great people towards the śrāvaka tradition. Incidentally, the Lord spent cāturmāsa of that year in Mithilā.

29th Year as Kevalī

At the end of the rainy season, the Lord left Mithilā for Magadha and reaching Rājagṛha, sat in Guṇaśīla garden. At that time the śrāvaka of Magadha, Mahāśataka, was observing the last fast. Because of the purity of his perseverance during his fasting, he attained avadhijṅāna and he was able to see far off places in four directions. One of his wives was Revatī whose character and behaviour was altogether different from that of Mahāśataka. She was unhappy with Mahāśataka's spiritual practice. One day, unaware, she reached the spot where Mahāśataka engrossed in austerity, reaching there, she started shouting angrily, leaving her hair open, like a hysterical person, and acting in an uncivilised manner. Mahāśataka was peaceful for a very long time but in the end he felt sorry for Revatī's behaviour and suddenly said –"Revatī, your uncivilised behaviour is not good. The result of this karma of yours will not be good. You will die in seven days and go to the first hell." Revatī was frightened on hearing Mahāśataka's words. Ultimately, just as Mahāśataka had said, she died and went to the first hell.

'Mahāśataka was a dear śrāvaka of the Lord. He learnt of Mahāśataka's mental state and asked Gautama to go to Mahāśataka's fasting hall and tell him his behaviour with Revatī was not right; hence, he must repent. As per the Lord's instructions, Mahāśataka repented and purified himself. The Lord's disciples and Gaṇadharas Agnibhūti and Vāyubhūti attained nirvāṇa with a fast unto death (samādhi). This year, the Lord was spent cāturmāsa at Rājagṛha.

The 30th Year as Kevalī

After the cāturmāsa, too, the Lord stayed back at Rājagṛha for some time. At that time, his gaṇadharas, Avyakta, Maṃḍita and Akaṃpita attained nirvāṇa after month-long fasts each at Guṇaśīla garden. Leaving Rājagṛha, the Lord arrived at the hall of scribes of king Hastipāla at Pāvāpurī. The gathering immediately became a samavaśaraṇa. Addresing a huge gathering of people, the Lord said that life is dear to all living beings and so is happy and sweet behaviour. On the contrary, nobody likes death, sorrow and rude behaviour. A person should behave with others just as he would like others to behave with him. This is the basic idea of humanity and the foundation of religion. After the crowd left, king Puṇyapāla told the Lord –"Lord, in the last moments of yesterday night I saw eight things in the form of an elephant, money, kṣīrataru, a crow, lion, lotus, seed and pitcher. I am afraid if this deam is an ominous sign of an inauspicious event."

Lord Mahāvīra told king Puṇyapāla –"Oh king, this dream indicates the future. Elephant in the dream indicates that in future even wise Śramaṇa adherents will live like an elephant in rut moment of wealthy, prosperous householder's life. Even in the most frightening difficult situations, they will not think of renouncing. Those who will take the path of restraint giving up their homes will also give up restraint or will not practise restraint well under influence of bad company. There will be very few who will follow with firmness the path of restraint."

"Seeing a monkey in the dream indicates that in future even great leaders of the congregation will be fickle in nature; they will be less courageous and will be negligent. They will not only disregard religion but also dishonour it. The few and far-between people who will behave righteously and observe the vows will be laughed at."

"Kṣīrataru (Pāpala tree) in a dream indicates that in future fraudulent namesake monks will surround votaries who will donate with a wicked feeling. These people will consider monks of pure conduct as lax and the fox-like lax ones as ones of pure conduct."

"Seeing a cow in a dream indicates that in future most monks and ascetics, opposing the norm, taking refuge in various fake sects, will keep changing the sect. Cawing like crows, these people will consider it their duty to condemn righteous people through perverse arguments."

"Seeing a lion in distress indicates that the brilliant, renunciation oriented Jain religion will become weak in future. Turning away from the preside of the religion, people will show respect to false monks in disguise."

'Seeing a lotus in a dream indicates that in future by virtue of bad company pure people will also turn away from the righteous path and turn towards bad deeds and behaviour."

"Seeing a seed in the dream indicates that in future people will leave out those who are worthy of being given to, and give alms to the unworthy in the same way as a farmer sows a good seed in barren land and tries to grow bad seeds on fertile land."

"Oh king, in the end you saw a pitcher which says that in future there will be very few monks with qualities of penance, sacrifice, compassion, etc. Further, there will be pretentious monks of lax conduct in large numbers. Householders will not be able to distinguish between them and shall behave similarly with both kinds of monks."

King Puṇyapāla developed detachment on hearing the results of his dreams. He accepted the path of restraint at the feet of the Lord and through right austerities, destroying all karmas, and attained nirvāṇa.

Description of Kālacakra (cycle of time)

One day Lord Mahāvīra's first Gaṇdhara Indrabhūti Gautama expressed curiosity about kālacakra. The Lord said –"Time cycle (kālacakra) has two main parts, avasarpiṇī (regressive half-cycle) and utsarpiṇī (progressive half-cycle). Consistently regressive half cycle is avasarpiṇī and consistently progressing half cycle is utsarpiṇī. Every cycle is of ten koḍākoḍī sāgaras. Thus, one kālacakra is of 20 koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras.

The regressive time cycle of avasarpiṇī consists of six parts. Every part is called Āraka. The names of six Ārakas or Āras are as follows:

1.

Suṣamā- Suṣama

Happy-happy

2.

Suṣama

Happy

3.

Suṣamā-Duṣama

Happy unhappy

4.

Duṣamā-Suṣama

Unhappy happy

5.

duṣama

Unhappy

6.

Duṣamā- duṣama

Unhappy unhappy

 

"The first Āraka is completely happy. This Āraka is of four-koḍ ākoḍī sāgara. At the beginning of this Āraka, a human life span is of three palyopama, height 3 miles, and body has 256 ribs. The body consists of the best bones and bolt muscles in perfect symmetry all over. In this period, the mother gives birth at the same time to a son and daughter twins (yugala) who at an appropriate time spend lives as husband and wife. People of this age have divine beauty; they are gentle, soft-spoken, and simple-minded and eat leaves, fruits and flowers. They feel hungry once in three days. The taste of the earth in this time is like sugar Candy. In that time, the atmosphere is exceedingly beautiful and charming, happy, peaceful and joyous. People of that time do not have to make efforts for livelihood because ten kinds of kalpavṛkṣa fulfill all their needs. When the twins' lifespan has six months remaining of it, they give birth to twin son and daughter. The parents look after the twin borns for 49 days, the twin youth live together and roam freely. On completion of three palyopama years, one of them sneezes and the other yawns and they end their lives to be born to gods. There are six kinds of humans in the 1st Āraka.

"The second Āraka called Suṣamā is of three koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras. In this, in contrast to the first Āraka the qualities of colour, smell, taste and touch are far less pleasant. In the initial stage of this Āraka, the age is two palyopama, height 2 miles and ribs are 128. The body consists of best bones and is in symmetry all over. They feel hungry once in two days. The taste of the earth declines to become similar to sugar. Even in this Āraka, ten kinds of kalpavṛkṣa fulfill all human needs. Just as in the first Āraka when the yugalinis have six months to live, they give birth to a son and daughter twins, who start their married life independently after brought up by their parents. At the end of their lives these twins too sneeze, yawn, and dying become gods. There are four kinds of human beings in this Āraka."

"The Suṣamā-duṣama Āraka is of 2 koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras. When compared to the second Ārā, in this, there is degeneration to a large extent in colour, smell, taste and touch. In the beginning of this Ārā, the life-span is 1 palyopama, height 2000 dhanuṣa and ribs are 64 in number. The body consists of the best bones and muscles, in perfect symmetry all over. They feel hungry on alternate days. The kalpavṛkṣa also fulfill their needs. They also do not have to make effort to earn their livelihoods. Hence, this era is also an era of enjoyment (bhoga). Six months before death the female twin gives birth to son-daughter twins who are looked after by the parents for 79 days and then they roam about freely. In the end they sneeze and yawn and after death become gods."

"This situation continues till two-thirds part of the time cycle. Due to speedy changes in the last part (approximately a crore pūrvas) human beings, have six kinds of body build-up, symmetry, and different dhanuṣa height, age lower number of years and at the maximum innumerable years. All human beings do not go to heaven after death; but go to hell, netherworld, human womb and some on gods' realms, or the process of attaining mokṣa begins. When the eighth part of one palyopama remains of the third part of this cycle, 15 kulakaras are born successively in Bharata. Kalpavṛkṣa reduce in numbers as well as turn weak. This results in scarcity of things needed for living causing enmity and contests between people. Kulakaras try to keep people in control."

"When 84 lakh pūrvas, three years and eight-and-a-half months remained of this avasarpiṇī half cycle, Vṛṣabhanātha was born, who became the first king and first Tīrthaṃkara. Administering for 63 lakh pūrvas, Vṛṣabhanātha taught the humans of the time asi (art of government / military occupation), masi (writing) and kṛṣi (farming) and other skills and arts and changed the world from the world of enjoyment (bhoga bhūmi) to that of action (karma bhūmi). He founded the first tīrtha of the avasarpiṇī half cycle. It was in this Āraka that we had the first Tīrthaṃkara and the first cakravartī. Three years and eight-and-a-half months remained for the third ārā to end when Lord Vṛṣabhanātha attained nirvāṇa."

"The fourth ārā named Duṣamā-Suṣamais of 42 thousand years less one koḍ ākoḍīsāgara years. In contrast to the third Āraka, in this there is rise in the sense of colour, smell, taste and touch and decline to a large extent in strength, heroism, action, human form and bravery, etc. There are six kinds of body structure of humans and different dhanuṣa height and timespan is of minimum antarmuhūrta and maximum pūrvakoṭi. After dying, they go to five different kinds of destinations. In this Āraka there are 23 Tīrthaṃkara, 11 Cakravartīs, 9 Baladevas, 9 Vasudevas and 9 prati Vasudevas."

In the presence of the Tīrthaṃkara the country is beautiful, prosperous and has abundant food and wealth. The ācāryas of that time reflect the brilliance of deep knowledge. Just seeing them gives a feeling of contentment and peace and their speech produces joy in people. Parents are full of loving tenderness comparable to gods. Subjects are truthful, respectful, faithful to religion / righteousness, of pure hearts, and ones who honour and pay obeisance to teachers like gods. In the time of the Tīrthaṃkara, knowledge, science, good behaviour, clan honour and pride are of the highest order. Kings are inclined towards sacrifice and are the foremost devotees of the renouncer Lord."

"Introducing the extreme situation in the fifth Āraka the Lord said – "Three years, eight months and fifteen days after my mokṣa will commence the fifth Ārā named duṣama, which will have a time span of 21 thousand years. My religious rule will continue till the last day of the fifth Ārā. But the moment the fifth Ārā begins, degeneration of colour, smell, taste, touch will happen alongside successive destruction of religion / righteousness, character, truth, peace, right belief, good behaviour, good knowledge, courage, bravery, compassion, sacrifice, vows, etc and in their place bad qualities will keep accumulating. Villages will seem fearsome like graveyards and cities will seem like a playground of ghouls. Kings will bring pain like the god of death Yamarāja and subjects will be timid like slaves. All over there will be the rule of 'Matsyarājya' that is, there will be a tradition of putting an end to those smaller than one. There will develop the tendency of looting and usurping by the authorities and there will be disorder everywhere. Situation in every country and state will be uncertain. It will be common to find disturbances at home, and even family members will have a sense of mutual mistrust. People will behave like enemies to others instead of being cooperative and helping. People will develop feelings of disrespect and disregard for teachers instead of devotion and faith. Teachers too, instead of imparting knowledge and righteous teachings will, by their own uncontrolled behaviour, produce feelings in their students of independence and self-praise which will lead to a sense of vanity even in religious matters. There will be a sense of disobedience in place of love between father and son. Women will have les of modesty; at the same time their interest in fun and laughter, amorous play and garrulousness will increase, and as a result, seeing god will only be a matter of mere talk."

"By the time the fifth ārā ends, the monk-female-monk and layman lay woman order will almost die out. At the end of the fifth ārā there will only remain the four-fold order of Duḥprasaha ācārya, female-monk Falguśrī, votaries Nāgila and Satyaśrī. Vimalavāhana will be the last king of Bhārata and the last minister, Sumukha. Human being's body will be two-hands of height, and the life span will be twenty years. The greatest fast will be that of belā (ṣaṣṭhabhakta). Ācārya Duh ̣prasaha will instruct the four-fold order until the end. In the end when he will tell them that the saṃgha (order) is no more; he will be excommunicated from the order. He will remain a householder for twelve years and after being a monk for eight years, observing a fast unto death completing his life will become a god in Saudharmakalpa. On the day of the end of the fifth Āraka Gaṇadharma, caritradharma and rājadharma (duties of a ruler) and fire (agni) will be lost from their roots in Bharata region."

"After the end of the fifth Āraka, will commence the sixth; named Duṣamā- Duṣama. Its time-span is 29,000 years and in this time destruction will be at its prime. There will be havoc, fear and chaos in all ten directions. There will always be fearsome storms and winds of great speed blowing everything away. Because of these winds, the whole atmosphere will be filled with dust envelop in darkness. Due to the impact of the time, there will be an unimaginable increase in the Sun's heat and the Moon's coolness. There will be untimely rains and leaving the high mountains the earth will gradually be still. The earth will burn like fire because of the heat. People will not be able to work nor even move. In this ārā the human body will just be one hand high and lifespan will be between 16 to 20 years. There will be numerous boys and girls in a family and people will have no love for any other apart from their own families. People will forever be worried about their own families. People will be very ugly, harsh, and shameless, immersed in squabbles and bad deeds, disrespecting, unwise, suffering from different kinds of diseases, lacking in brilliance, stuck in bad qualities of illusion and passion and will be indulgent in bad habits. There will be many more numbers of disabled people. The expanse and depth of Gaṃgā and Siṃdhu rivers will reduce phenomenally; there will be less water and fish and tortoises will be many more in number which will be consumed as food. After death people will be born in hell and nether realms."

Utsarpiṇī kāla cycle

"After the end of the Duṣamā– Duṣama half cycle of the avasarpiṇī cycle, a progressive half cycle called utsarpiṇī will arise. Just like the avasarpiṇī utsarpiṇī too will have six Ārakas – in the reverse. That is, the first Āraka will be Duṣamā– Duṣama and the last, or sixth will be Suṣamā-Suṣama. The first ārā of utsarpiṇī cycle will be of 21 thousand years and the situation will be similar to the one in the sixth ara of avasarpiṇī (regressive) half cycle. The only difference is that in utsarpiṇī the situation will progressively improve."

At the end of the first Āraka the second Āraka Duṣama will commence which will last for 21 thousand years. In this time, there will be a good time right from the beginning. A cloud by name Puṣkara Saṃvartaka will shower torrential rains for seven days all over Bharata land. The heat of the earth will cool down and different kinds of grains and medicines will grow. This way for seven days, each Puṣkara Megha, Kṣīra Megha, Ghṛta Megha, Amṛta Megha and Rasa Megha will send torrential rains, making the dry earth cool, content, and lush green. People hidden inside caves will come out again and seeing the lush green earth, will begin reconstruction of a new life. They will give up flesh eating and become vegetarians. They will construct a society on a new foundation and successively there will be progress in knowledge, science, arts, crafts, etc."

"The 21 thousand years of the second Āraka too will end and the third Āraka, named Duṣamā-Suṣama will begin which will be 42 thousand years less of one koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras. After three years, eight-and-a-half months of the third Āraka is over, the first Tīrthaṃkara of the utsarpiṇī half cycle will be born. In this Āraka there will be altogether 23 Tīrthaṃkara, 11 cakravartīs, 9 baladevas, 9 Vasudevas and 9 prati Vasudevas. In this time, the situation will be same as that of the Duṣamā-Suṣama of the avasarpiṇī half cycle. The only difference is that here the situation will be progressively good."

"The fourth ārā of utsarpiṇī, named Suṣamā-Duṣamawill be of 2 koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras. The 24thTīrthaṃkara and 12th cakravartī will be born at the beginning of this time. After a little more than one crore pūrvas is over in this Āraka, kalpavṛkṣa will come into being and Bharata will again become a bhoga (enjoyment) land."

The fifth, Suṣama, and the sixth, Suṣamā-Suṣama, of the utsarpiṇī, will have conditions similar to the first two ārās of the avasarpiṇī half cycle. Combining the six-six Ārakas of the avasarpiṇī and utsarpiṇī, that is, altogether 20 koḍ ākoḍīsāgaras of the 12 Ārakas, make one Kālacakra."

Gautama asked the Lord – "What will be the main events after your nirvāṇa?" The Lord replied – "Three years and eight-and-a-half months after I attain mokṣa the fifth ārā named duḥśama will commence. After 64 years the last kevalī, Jambū, will attain liberation. At that time manaḥparyavajṅāna, parama avadhijṅāna, pulākalabdhi, Āhāraka śarīra, kṣapakaśreṇī, upaśama śreṇī, jinakalpa, parihāra viṣuddhi, sūkṣmasaṃparāya, yathākhyāta caritra, pure knowledge and muktigamana – all these twelve will be uprooted from Bharata."

"After my nirvāṇa in my time period until the end of the fifth ārā there will be 2004 ācāryas of the era. The first among them will be Ārya Sudharmā and the last, Duh ̣prasaha."

"170 years after my nirvāṇa, after Ācārya Bhadrabāhu ascends the heaven, the last four pūrvas, symmetrical body, well-built bones and muscles, and Mahāprāṇa dhyāna will vanish from Bharata."

"After 500 years, in Ācārya Āryavajra's time, the tenth pūrva and first saṃhanana-catuṣka will end."

"470 years after my nirvāṇa there will be a king named Vikramāditya, who will be a good person, a golden man, and will rule continuously over the earth under his saṃvat."

453 years after my nirvāṇa there will be a Kālakācārya who will end the kingdom of Gardabhilla."

"Many monks will be like buffoons who will spend their time in self-praise and condemning others. Nobody will talk about those with phenomenal strength of the self and those without strength of self will be worshipped."

Hearing this description from the Lord many great souls including Hastipāla became nirgrantha monk. In that year, there was vast propagation of the nirgrantha sermon. In the fourth month of the cāturmāsa on the new moon day of the dark fortnight of Kārtika month in the early morning time at the 'scribes assembly' the Lord gave his last sermon. Nine Licchavīs of Kāśī, Kauśala, nine Mallas and 18 gaṇarājās (Chiefs of republics) were also present there.

Liberation of the Lord (Parinirvāṇa)

Lord Mahāvīra's parinirvāṇa took place on the new moon day of the dark fortnight of Kārtika month. On that day, observing a fast (bele) the Lord kept giving his sermon for 16 hours (prahara). In this sermon, the Lord explained the 55 of puṇyaphala and 55 of the pāpaphala vipāka, which is popular as 'Sukha vipāka' and 'Duḥkha vipāka' divisions of the 'Vipāka Sūtra'. He also spoke of unnumbered 36 chapters of vyākaraṇa, which is popular as 'Uttarādhyayana Sūtra'. While mentioning the 37th chapter on Marudevī the Lord became still in paryaṃkāsana. He respectively blocked the activity of the mind and speech, then maintaining the subtle activity of the body; he blocked the coarse activity of the body. In the third stage of deep meditation he stopped the minute activities of the speech and mind and reached the fourth stage of meditation stopping all action and reaching there, and had time enough to utter the words a, I, u, ṛ, lṛ, and destroying all the aghātikarmas, became enlightened, emancipated and liberated.

Sensing his nirvāṇa time approaching the Lord had sent his first Gaṇadhara Indrabhūti Gautama to arouse through discourse the Brahmin named Devaśarmā. When he got news in the middle of the night about the Lord's nirvāṇa, he was very unhappy. Lovelorn, Gautama was wailing when suddenly his inner voice said – "Gautama! What kind of love is this? The Lord has renounced all; love for him is nothing other than passion. You should follow the Lord." With this thought, the flow of his thinking changed and at the end of the night Gautama, destroying his ghātikarmas, obtained the immortal glow of pure knowledge and himself became the seer of three worlds.

There is a story as, "Once Gautama was sad seeing monks younger than him attaining nirvāṇa asked Lord as to why he has not yet attained pure knowledge?" Sensing his worry Lord Mahāvīra said to Guatama – "Gautama, you have intense love for me. Actually, the two of us have been together for many births. After completing our life span here, we shall reach the same place and yet not separate. Your love for me is an obstacle in the path of your attaining pure knowledge. The moment this love decreases you will attain pure knowledge."

After nirvāṇa, Lord's dead body was taken to the funeral pyre on a palanquin. There, on a funeral pyre made of gośīrṣa sandal, constructed by the gods, the Lord's body was placed. Agnikumāra lit the pyre and with scented substances directed by the wind, the Lord's body was set to flames. Then Meghakumāra doused the fire with a shower of rain. At the time of nirvāṇa the present 18 kings of the republics observed the fast in the fasting hall on the amāvasyā (dark moon night) day. Sensing that the Lord has attained nirvāṇa, as a symbol of knowledge, lights were lit in every home in every village and city, which later on began to be observed on the new moon night of the dark fortnight of Kārtika month in the form of Dīpāvalī.

Lord Mahāvīra's Life-span

Śramaṇa Lord Mahāvīra stayed as a householder for nearly 30 years and 7 months. He observed austerity for 12 years, 5 months and 15 days and wandered as a kevalī for 29 years, 5 months and 20 days. Thus, at the age of 72 years, 6 months and 16 days the Lord attained mokṣa (360 days of ṛtuvarṣa). In the scriptures, his mendicancy period be 12 years and 13 pakṣa (ṛtu months 12 years, 11 pakṣa) is indicated.

Lord Mahāvīra's Cāturmāsa (rainy season halts)

Śramaṇa Mahāvīra spent his first single cāturmāsa at Asthigrāma; three at Campā and Pṛṣṭhacampā; twelve at Vaiśālī and Vāṇijyagrāma; fourteen at Rājagṛha and Nālandā; six at Mithilā city; two at Bhaddila; one each at Ālaṃbhika and Śrāvastī; three in Anārya  Vajrabhūmi; one last single cāturmāsaat Pāvāpurī. Thus, the Lord spent a total of 42 cāturmāsa.

The Congregation of Lord Mahāvīra

The following was the congregation of Lord Mahāvīra:-11 Gaṇadharas including Gautama Indrabhūti, and 9 Gaṇas 700 kevalīs, 500 manaḥparyavajṅāna, 1300 avadhijṅānīs, 300 fourteen pūrvadhārīs, 400 vādīs, 700 vaikriyalabdhidharīs, 800 anuttaropapātika monks, 14000 monks, 36000 female-monks, 159000 laymen, 318000 laywomen and, apart from these, lakhs of devotees of the Lord. 700 monks and 1400 female-monks attained nirvāṇaduring Lord Mahāvīra's time.

Introduction to the Gaṇadharas

Śramaṇa Lord Mahāvīra's congregation had 11 gaṇadharas. All these were Brahmin householders from different places. On the invitation of Madhyamapāvā's Somila all these people had come with their respective disciples to attend the sacrificial ritual. Upon attaining pure knowledge Lord Mahāvīra arrived at Pāvāpurī. All these Brahmins attended the Lord's samavaśaraṇa along with their disciples there and impressed by his knowledge, took initiation along with their respective disciples on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Vaiśākha month. Attaining the knowledge of the tripadīs they wrote the fourteen pūrvas and became gaṇadharas. Their brief introduction is as follows:

  1. Indrabhūti: The first Gaṇadhara Indrabhūti was the son of Vasubhūti of the Gautama gotra, a resident of 'Gobara' within the Magadha country. His mother's name was Pṛthvī. He was a scholar of Veda and Vedānta and used to teach 500 students. Obtaining the answer to the problem of soul from Mahāvīra he became a monk along with his 500 students. He was 50 years old at the time of initiation. He was of a polite nature and a great observer of penance. He attained pure knowledge immediately after the nirvāṇa of the Lord. After wandering for 30 years as mendicant, he wandered as a kevalī only for 12 years. Completing 92 years of age, observing a month's fast at Guṇaśīlacaitya, he attained nirvāṇa.
  2. Agnibhūti: The second Gaṇadhara Agnibhūti was the middle brother of Indrabhūti. After getting the answer for his doubt on 'Puruṣādvaita' from Lord Mahāvīra, he along with his 500 students, at the age of 46, accepted the mendicant conduct. Wandering as a mendicant for 12 years, he attained pure knowledge. Being a kevalī for 16 years, during the Lord's lifetime he attained liberation after observing a month's fast at Guṇaśīla caitya.
  3. Vāyubhūti: The third Gaṇadhara Vāyubhūti was the younger brother of Indrabhūti and Agnibhūti. Getting an awakening discourse on the soul outside of the elements form the Lord, he gave up his thinking of soul and body being one and the same (tajjīva taccharīra) and along with his 500 students, took initiation from the Lord. He was then 42 years old. After ten years of mendicancy, he attained pure knowledge and for 18 years wandered as a kevalī. Two years before the nirvāṇa of the Lord at the age of 70, he observed a month's fast at Guṇaśīla caitya and attained liberation.
  4. Ārya Vyakta: The fourth Gaṇadhara Ārya Vyakta was a Brahmin belonging to the Kollāga province and of Bhāradwāja gotra. His mother's name was Vārūṇī and father's name was Dhanamitra. His belief was that the whole world is an illusion and only Brahma is the truth. Impressed by Lord Mahāvīra's sermon he along with his 500 students took initiation as a mendicant at the age of 50. After 11 years as a mendicant, he attained pure knowledge. He remained a kevalīfor 18 years. In the Lord's lifetime after one month's, fast he attained liberation at the age of 80 at Guṇaśīla caitya.
  5. Sudharmā: Sudharmā was a Brahmin from Kollāga province and of Agniveśyāyana gotra. His mother's name was Bhaddilā and father's name was Dhammila. On the subject of births, obtaining the clarifications from the Lord, he took initiation along with 500 students. He became the fifth Gaṇadhara and later on, the successor ācārya. He managed the congregation for 20 years after Lord's nirvāṇa. He completed 100 years of age and attained mokṣa at Rājagṛha. In his lifetime, he spent 50 years as a householder, 42 years as a mendicant and 8 years as a kevalī, propagating the Śramaṇa tradition.
  6. Maṇḍita: He was the sixth Gaṇadhara of the Lord's congregation. He was a Brahmin of the Vaśiṣṭha gotra and a resident of the Maurya province. His father's name was Dhanadeva and his mother's name was Vijayādevī. Obtaining clarifications for his doubt regarding the relationship between the soul and the world, impressed, he along with his 350 students took initiation. He was 53 years old at that time. After observing the mendicant's vows for 14 years, he attained pure knowledge at the age of 67 and after being a kevalī for 16 years, observing a fast, he attained liberation at the Guṇaśīla caitya during the lifetime of the Lord at the age of 83 years.
  7. Mauryaputra: A Brahmin of the Kāśyapa gotra from the Mauryan province, Mauryaputra was the seventh Gaṇadhara of the Lord. His father's name was Maurya and mother's name was Vijayādevī. Impressed by the Lord's answer to his doubt about gods and the realm of gods, Mauryaputra along with his 350 students took to mendicancy. Remaining a mendicant for 14 years he attained pure knowledge from penance at the age of 79. Then, wandering as a kevalī for 16 years, he fasted unto death attaining nirvāṇa during the lifetime of the Lord at the age of 95.
  8. Akampita: A resident of Mithilā and a Brahmin of the Gautama gotra, Akampita was the eighth Gaṇadhara of the Lord. His mother's name was Jayantī and his father's name was Deva. The Lord cleared his doubt about hell and life in hell and he, along with his 300 disciples, took initiation into the Śramaṇa path. At that time, Akampita was 48 years old. After wandering as a mendicant for nine years, he attained pure knowledge at the age of 57. Being a kevalī for 21 years, and observing a fast for a month, he attained nirvāṇa during the Lord's lifetime at Guṇaśīla caitya at the age of 78.
  9. Acalabhrātā: A resident of Kauśala, hailing from the Hārīta gotra, Acalabhrātā was the Lord's ninth Gaṇadhara. His mother's name was Nandā and his father's name was Vasu. At the age of 46 he along with his 300 disciples attended the Lord's samavaśaraṇa, and obtaining a satisfying reply from the Lord to his question on bad and good deeds, he accepted initiation. After observing severe penance and mediating he attained pure knowledge at the age of 58 years. After that, for 14 years, he wandered as a mendicant and at the age of 72, after a month-long fast, he attained nirvāṇa at the Guṇaśīla caitya.
  10. Metārya: The tenth Gaṇadhara Metārya was a resident of Tuṃgika province in Vatsadeśa and was a Brahmin of Kauṇinya gotra. His mother's name was Varūṇādevī and his father's name was Datta. He had a doubt about rebirth. Impressed by Lord Mahāvīra's answer, he, along with his 300 disciples, too initiation at the age of 36 years. He spent 10 years as a mendicant and attained pure knowledge. After remaining a kevalī for 16 years, he attained nirvāṇa at Guṇaśīla caitya in the lifetime of the Lord at the age of 62.
  11. Prabhāsa: The eleventh Gaṇadhara Prabhāsa was a resident of Rājagṛha and a Brahmin of Kauṇḍinya gotra. His mother's name was Atibhadrā and his father's name was Bala. Mahāvīra replied to his question on liberation in such a manner that he became Mahāvīra's disciple along with his 300 students. At that time, Prabhāsa was only 16 years old. After 8 years, he attained pure knowledge and thereafter, remaining a kevalī for 16 years. At the age of 40 observing a month-long fast, he attained nirvāṇa at Guṇaśīla caitya. Prabhāsa is the only Gaṇadhara who took initiation at such a young age and attained pure knowledge.

All these Gaṇadharas were Brahmins by caste and Vedic scholars. After taking initiation, they all studied the 11 Aṃgas. Hence, all of them had the knowledge of the 14 pūrvas and possessed special attainments (labdhis).

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